Compass | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
132 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Knapp85 on 05-27-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 667
Photo of MRsojourner
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

aroma is a big boom of citrus- orange & grapefruit and candy sweet sugar.

appearance is very pale with a thick white head leaving sporadic lacing.

taste is lemon and a touch of grapefruit and pine initially with a sharp hop bite but finishes really clean.

high carbonation that makes it very drinkable and hides the high abv.

overall really good so far

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid 8 bucks for the bomber from halftime beverage. Into a pint glass. 5/03/13 bottle date.

A - Yet another hazy Belgium pale ale this one being mildly carbonated giving me just a 1/4 inch of head that settles to a mild soapy ring.
S - Great smell the citrus hops are pungent and bright. Not much rose hips but it does have a fruity malt backbone and a dry yeasty edge.
T - Well it's good but not really wowing me. I love the combination of bittering rose hips and the citrus hops are clean and crisp like a fresh DIPA even though this bottle is a month old.
M - ABV is well hidden it drinks like a DIPA around 7 or 8%. Tasty.

Overall its a great dry hopped ale with some Belgium yeasts and its easy to drink. If I found it local and the price was a bit cheaper I might get it every week. Always a treat to try the latest ST.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a hazy straw yellow with three fingers of rocky white head.

Citrusy aroma of orange and grapefruit along with floral notes and a light maltiness.

Much like the aroma, the taste is quite citrusy with orange and grapefruit. Floral notes, candy sugar and light biscuity malts follow. the 9% abv is well hidden.

Medium bodied with a sharp carbonation.

A very tasty and easy-drinking brew from Southern Tier. Recommended.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier : Compass

Look: Pours a bright golden color. A careful pour yields just a small amount of sediment. Bone white head forms and leaves a good amount of lacing. Looks like a big IPA.

Smell: Sweet malts, citrus, tropicsl fruit, fragrant herbs. Sweet and citrusy but also with a light flowery element.

Taste: Has a lot of tropical flavor of papaya, orange citrus, honey, and resin. There certainly is a solid bitterness. Pine, herbal and grassy notes are also part of the hop bite, with perhaps a bit from the rose hips used in brewing. Just a hint of alcohol flavor but really well concealed and deceptive in its ways.

Feel: Medium bodied, well carbonated, and somewhat sticky to the palate.

Overall: This is a really nice ale. Diverse ingredients, coming off as a west coast imperial pale ale. Refreshing, yet it dries in the finish. I would have no problem with buying another bottle or draft of this. Delicious.

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Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Hazy dark yellow with a generous 2+ finger head, lots of carbonation & yeast particles floating about
S: Tons of citrus particularly grapefruit, floral & light malt notes
T: More mild than the nose would suggest but very intricate with pretty florals, light citrus & slightly sweet malt
M: Surprisingly light-bodied given the well-hidden 9% abv, nice carbonation
O: This bottle went down far too easy given its strength... I definitely like it

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DOB 05/03/13

A: Pours a cloudy and chill-hazed straw yellow color with a fingers worth of head that semi-quickly fades to a very thin cap

S: Very pleasant, with big notes of citrus and fruity hops. Some pilsner malt in the background along with a hint of flowers/rose hips

T: Starts off with a nice citrus and fruity kick followed by a solid maltiness and floral notes. Finishes decently bitter with more fruitiness and a touch of wheat

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation

O: Most certainly beyond the realms of an APA, but a solid brew regardless of classification. Very easy to drink even given the 9% and generously hopped as well. A nice surprise as the new large-format seasonal for ST, and one that I'd recommend

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Photo of Digimaika2
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(4.0) A: Hazy golden colour with a lot of sediment and a sizeable creamy head. Long lasting retention and dense lacing.

(4.0) S: Tart citrus fruits (mostly lemon), floral qualities, grains, sea salt, and a buttered bread backbone. Lots of citrus zest and a bit of musky/mothball-like aroma throughout (but not in a bad way).

(4.0) T: Orange juice, grapefruit zest, floral qualities, bread-like malt, and spices. This is real interesting with a definite refreshing quality from the carbonation and citrus fruits. Detecting some tropical fruits as this warms up. The alcohol is very well hidden. Lots of hop bitterness, healthy amount of dryness, and a malty sweetness that rounds this out nicely.

(4.0) M: Full bodied with a higher carbonation. Creamy and rich.

(4.0) D: Glad to have picked this up. Unique ale that crosses a number of styles but in the end it is well crafted and delicious.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one while I was out with my awesome wife in Annapolis.

Served in an Olde Hickory glass.

A: Apricot color with a very, very, very cloudy disposition. Soft white head that didn't add up to much.

S: Nice astringent hop scent with a nice grassiness as well.

T: Tasted like crushed Flintstone vitamins with a good bit of yeast. The yeast was subtle compared to the fresh clean linen-infused hop profile.

M: The bitterness wasn't ridiculous, and neither was the lacing.

O: Nice entry from Southern Tier. I may be in the minority here, but I'm glad they are now shying away from doing mere season entries and are now doing experimental stuff.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bright, hazy gold with yeast sediment clearly evident both suspended in the liquid and settled at the bottom of the glass. Streams of carbonation are clearly visible. The head is initially puffy, but recedes a bit quicker than expected, settling to an even, thin lacing around the sides of the glass.

S: Lively aromas of sourdough bread, cracker, biscuit, minerals, lemon, lime, grapefruit, fresh herbs, kumquat, bitter orange, and rose hip tea present themselves on the nose.

T: Notes of lemon, lime, bitter orange, grapefruit, kumquat, lemongrass, rose hips, white pepper, and sage present themselves immediately, but are soon joined by notes of sourdough bread, minerals, biscuits, and crackers. The finish is hoppy, fruity, and bitter with rose hip, lemon, lime, and grapefruit flavors supported by bread yeast and biscuit.

M: Medium-to-full in body, sticky, and resinous in the mouth. Carbonation is crisp and firm. Alcohol presence is well concealed, but makes it presence known with a slight prickle of heat on the fade. Very drinkable for an ale of this strength.

O: Although Compass could be a bit better balanced and more focused, it is still an intriguing, flavorful, approachable ale. The way the rose hip flavors merge with the yeast and hop notes is truly wonderful. As is, this is a beer that nudges greatness, but falls just a little bit short of the mark. Recommended for fans of hoppy American ales.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split and poured into a tulip. DOB 05/06/13.

A: Pours an opaque light golden yellow with a one finger white head. Takes a few minutes for the head to dissipate as it leaves spots of lacing on the glass. Some floating sediment once you get to the bottom of the bottle.

S: First thing I notice is a pleasant hop aroma. A nice blend of citrus and earthiness. Rose hips add a bit of a floral character that compliments the hop. Some grassiness comes out as it warms up as well as yeast.

T: Balanced blend going on here, not an overwhelming hop as you would expect from the aroma. Rose comes through fairly strong and is an welcome compliment to the bitterness. Malt adds sweetness that masks the booze pretty well.

M: Light body with a bubbly mouthfeel. Crisp finish which reminds me of a champagne. Very easy drinking considering the ABV.

Overall a unique approach on the pale ale that comes through very solid. The citrus hops and rose hips compliment each other nicely. Would recommend giving it a shot.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy golden orange with a two-finger foamy white head. The head dosen't hang around long leaving a nice soapy lacing.

S - The aroma is orange peel, lemon, and floral hops.

T - The flavor is citrus (orange and tangerine), sweet malts, and some graininess upfront. The backend has some floral notes from the rose hips and a good bitterness from the hops.

M a- Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Crisp mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - A nice take on a Pale Ale. The flavors compliment each other nicely. I will Definetly revisit this one again.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting and quite pleasant beer. Rose hips can certainly be overdone, in which case they taste like Grannie's soap. In this case they provide some nice aroma and a top note which are both nice, with the citrus of the hops being most prominent in the flavor. The pour is a little scary, with abundant white floaties suspended in the golden brew with a nice white head. Not a big deal, just protein, but still....On the other hand, the rose and citrus meld beautifully, the nose is enticing, and there is a long citric bitterness that nicely rounds things out. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 05/03/13. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy gold color with about an inch off-white head that stayed around for a while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells really floral, the rose hips really stand out in the aroma. There's also citrusy (lemon peel, grapefruit) hops and some peppery spice noticeable. The taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some pineapple and bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has a good amount of carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew, but I'd like to try a fresher bottle next time.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cigar and beer pairing, L'atelier 52 ring gauge from Pete Johnson and his brother, hand rolled in Nicaragua at the My Father Cigar Factory in Esteli. The beer brewed under Phin and Matt of Lakewood, NY. From what I gather on the label the beer is a strong hoppy American Saison with rose hips, very rustic with only pilsner malt fine carbonation the proteins of the settled hops and rose hips are floating in the semi hazed golden beauty. Bright white head settles slow and leaves fine even patterned lacing. Aroma upfront with citrus and grapefruit going down amongst many other, biscuit tones from the pale malts and a pleasant kiss of floral/vegetal rose hips. There are terrified wheat additions which only complement the citrus based hops. Bottled on 5/3/13, spicy citrus ale with a lingering bitterness derived from those rose hips it's bitter but has a nice interplay of bright citrus and spicy yeast. The light biscuit toned pilsner malts set off as the canvas for the interplay between high alpha acids and the rose hips, everything else going on is fantastic 9% abv is well hidden. The body is medium to full a lot of texture from the hop oils, and lingering finish from the spice/bitterness from the rose hips pairs well with the effervescent carbonation looming with each sip. Overall the beer is at odds with itself the same pairings I enjoyed weigh heavy on the palate and kill the drinkability a bit, not the type of beer I would like to enjoy in number but with a fresh fish prepared just right fine dining there wouldn't be any better pairing as for the cigar. This lighter colored habano born seed wrapper has the right elements of pepper and spice to complement the drink just right. Definitely a worthy pairing with the type of hops and yeast, with those rose hops it adds to spicy Nicaraguan long fillers very happy with this pairing.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a perfect pint.

4.0 A: Clear medium yellow color. A bit of yeasties floating around. Two fingers of frothy white head. Retention is very good and plenty of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Citrusy hops - orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Moderate herbalness that I assume is the rose hips. Neutral maltiness and clean. Not super complex, but it smells great. Nothing to complain about.

3.75 T: Pleasant neutral maltiness sticks out more so than in the nose. Orange, grapefruit, and lemon citrusiness. Moderate, well integrated herbalness. Again this is a winner.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation with a pleasant creaminess.

4.25 D: Supremely and infinitely drinkable. No complaints. This is a winner.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a straw yellow with lots of floaty bits suspended within. A bright white head that lingers well but leaves very little lacing behind.
Smell is a nice blend of floral hops, malt, and grass. The ABV is detectable.
Taste is exactly like the nose promised: malt, floral hops, grass. Great balance.
Medium-light body up front builds toward the fuller end of the spectrum at the finish. Effervescence is restrained. Somewhat drying and warming. Good stuff.

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Photo of CHickman
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Imperial Compass is a bottle conditioned sparkling ale brewed with rose hips and citrus hops, per the bottle, so I'm not sure why it's listed on BA as an APA.

Pours cloudy yellow with 1 finger snow white colored head that faded slowly, leaving decent spotty lacing. Basically it looks like a cross between a Belgian and a lager.

Smells very floral, with the rose and floral hops leading the way, followed by light caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains and a fruity sweetness like white grapes. A very soft and enjoyable nose, which leads to the flavor which is much the same.

Tastes of floral hops, grapefruit, lemon zest, caramel, citrus hops, yeast, grains, white grapes, mild spices like coriander and pepper. Flavor has mild sweetness and a complex floral aroma similar to a bouquet or potpourri; it's basic and complex at the same time with a hoppy element more like a pilsner than an IPA or APA.

Mouthfeel is light crisp and refreshingly clean, with a light body, mild carbonation and a dry clean finish like a light pilsner that borders on a champagne – a sparkling ale indeed, it went down like soda.

Overall very enjoyable, easy to drink and complex enough to hide the high ABV, yet still go down like a summer ale or pilsner – a rather amazing trick which Southern Tier pulled off; I'd love to have it again well aged to see what the bottle conditioning does to it or the next batch. A very nice experiment from a brewery known for bold imperial stouts and IPA’s, this steers off course and ventures into soft, sessionable territory while maintaining a bad-ass ABV and excellent drinkability.

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Photo of peensteen
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy pale blonde one finger white head, thick with good lace. Smell is quite hoppy, citrus, grapefruit some orange and tangerine with just a bit of malt backbone as well. Taste is hoppy and quite citrusy, some sugar coated gummy candy, orange and fuzzy peach rings, some crackery malt and just a hint of alcohol. Lightly carbonated, medium full body, slick and chewy. Quite good, a really enjoyable beer that I would gladly revisit again.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle poured into a DFH shaped pint glass. Bottled 5/3/13.

A - Considerable chalky sediment is visible at the bottom of the bottle. I pour unhurriedly so as not to disturb to much of the muck on the first pour. It has a the typical cloudiness of unfiltered ale amongst the golden body. About a finger or so of quickly dissipating soapy head. Sporadic patches of lacing.

S - Extremely floral and vibrant aroma. The tangy lemon is overwhelming. Sweet spices, pepper, and cloves, give this a Belgian-like aroma. The addition of rose hips are obvious in the nose.

T - The lemon from the nose is not quite as pronounced in the flavor. Citrus upfront, followed by a sweet floral slap in the face. I suppose that is the rose hips, but I don't really care for it. It seems a bit unbalanced. Light, Ritz cracker malts work well. I enjoy it less as it warms and some of the floral notes intensify. Alcohol becomes more noticeable as it gets warmer as well. Slightly astringent linger.

M - Tingly effervescence and a light body for the high ABV.

O - I keep going back and forth on this beer. Some sips I really enjoy the citrus zestiness and some are a floral boozy mess. I guess overall it falls somewhere in between. The mouthfeel and aroma are excellent. I have been meaning to get this beer for a while and I wish I had pulled the trigger earlier. I think that this beer was probably best when super fresh. The fresh citrus hops could have helped balance some of the floral flavors that I did not enjoy.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours mustard yellow, lighter on bottom, hazy on top. Light white foam sits as a cap. Malty floral nose. Fresh bright citrus taste, buzzy carbonation. Fruitily floral. Some biscuit background. Insistent hop at the close. Boozy finish, hits hard.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: into a tulip, light hazy gold body, finger of ivory head, some lace smatterings

S: lots of citric and floral hops dominant, suggestions of lemon drops and vitamin C

T: a very hop-forward, citric-style, beer - pale, delicate malts beneath hint at light and fluffy biscuits

M: light-medium body, bittering and drying finish, effervescent and crisp

O: a very enjoyable pale ale, Imperial strength, even though it feels like light drinking - a very nice offering from Southern Tier

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.
Pours a nice honey color, a touch of haze with a real nice head two fingers high. Looks really nice.
Smells great. Nice and hoppy. Maybe a touch of tangy maltiness in back.
Tastes really nice. Interesting taste here, curious on the hop bill as the hop profile was unique. An interesting tasting beer.
Mouthfeel was nice. Inviting.
A good beer, interesting flavor.

 408 characters

Photo of argock
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. No freshness date but purchased shortly after release. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Hazy golden with a soft and quickly dissipating 1/2-finger of white head. Numerous floaties even with a careful pour of the first half of the bottle. Does leave some nice lacing.

S: Comes off as a supercharged Centennial with loads of pineapple and grapefruit citrus, lemon-lime as well and a floral note. I don't really catch the rose hips. The malt is lightly grainy and bready. Yeastiness is there despite it being a sparkling ale with some more doughy, bready aroma.

T: Great flavor with hops leading the way with pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, and soft pineapple. Big citrus presence all the way. Borders on but doesn't reach astringent. Malt component is very background with only some mild bready, crackery flavor, accentuated by the yeast flavors that add some doughiness.

M: I am not sure why this is a highly carbonated ale, it seems like it would be tastier and easier to drink with lower carbonation. Deceivingly light body despite the ABV.

O: A unique beer that would be better with less carbonation. I love their past beer Hoppe -- probably my favorite of their bomber lineup (sigh). This is a showcase for Centennial hops and it works well int his way, but the yeastiness shouldn't be there and detracts from appearance, aroma, and flavor. If they can help that problem with the yeast character and decrease the carbonation, this would soar from quite good to exceptional.

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Photo of TTAmod
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

5/6/13 dated bomber poured into tulip.

A- Pours hazy gold/orange. Thin head that sticks around for awhile. Lacing looks like how a good Belgian should look. Lots of floaties...but understandable considering the age.

S- Musty, yeasty, slightly sour smell. Citrusy and herbal notes are also present.

T- Herbal, floral sweetness is balanced by spicy, white grape-like hops. The rose hips are definitely present in the taste. It's pleasantly strong. No bitterness at all. Finishes slightly musty and rosy.

M- Mouthfeel is very good. Slightly on the thinner side with good carbonation. No sign of the 9% ABV.

O- A good, interesting brew that sort defies categorization. Considering the age, this was very good.

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Photo of Gmann
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a straw color with honey highlights. A short wispy white that settles into a light ring. Some moderate yeast floaters.

The aroma is bright. Nice citrus hops, mainly grapefruit. Floral notes from the rose hips. Malt is very light so the hops really standout.

The taste is hoppy but mellow. Not very aggressive hops but quite flavorful. Nice citrus flavors, grapefruit and some orange. Perhaps a touch of lime and grass. The rose hips seem to compliment the hops and not add much extra flavor besides a floral presence. The malt is dry and crackery despite the large malt bill. It drinks quite light for a 9% beer.

The feel is light to moderate with airy carbonation. Lightly bitter on the palate. Finishes dry and crisp. ABV well hidden.

Flavor wise it is good but not great. I am impressed by how drinkable this big beer is. Drinks like a session.

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Compass from Southern Tier Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 667 ratings.
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